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Devin McCourty Conference Call Transcript - 8/22/2012
DM: Yeah, it is pretty cool. It’s kind of like going back a couple years ago and being back in college. Seeing Coach Schiano there – head coach on the sidelines – and then competing with Tiquan, it’s kind of like the old days.
Q: What, if anything, has caused you to maybe change your approach to the preseason with this compressed practice schedule? I know practice reps are a little bit more treasured at this point because there’re so few of them. Have you changed your approach at all in the way you prepare and go about your business during the preseason?
DM: No, we’ve just been competing and listening to the coaches. I think everybody here really believes in Coach Belichick having a great plan for us [of] what to do and how to go as far as practicing, our mentality, where it needs to be, so I think we all kind of just feed off that and do what he really tells you to do in that aspect.
Q: Can you talk about the role that Coach Schiano played in your decision to go to college at Rutgers?
DM: I wasn’t a guy that had any other offers; I only had Rutgers. Even with that being said, he was always trying to change the program around with the right things and was all about winning and being competitive. I think myself and a lot of other guys that play in the NFL now that went to college around that time, really believed in him [and] in his belief in turning that program around. I think it was great for us to be there and be a part of something new that changed the culture of a whole football program.
Q: Prior to this week, did you guys reconnect at all when he took the Tampa Bay job and did you wish him luck or anything of that nature?
DM: Yeah, it was a real busy time for him, but I got a chance to just shoot him a text message and say good luck and I was happy for him. I think it was something that was well deserved. With all the work he did at Rutgers, I think he’s very deserving of a job like this. I just got a chance to wish him luck and then today got to talk to him for a few short minutes.
Q: How do you think Greg Schiano’s coaching personality will translate to the NFL?
DM: I think he’ll do well. He’s been in the NFL before. I remember all the times when we were in college, he used to tell us, ‘A lot of things we’re doing here will prepare you to play at the next level.’ He [ran] things like an NFL team. When I got to the NFL I was like, ‘You know, he was right.’ We did a lot things similarly, so I think he’ll transition pretty well. He was a coach in Chicago before and he spent a lot of time in college getting the different aspects and just going through it, helping kids grow into grown men. But as far as coaching football, I think he’ll do a great job.
Q: How do you feel about where you guys are as a secondary right now, with camp pretty much in rearview mirror and the preseason underway?
DM: We’ve got to keep improving. I think a bright spot is we’re doing some things well, but it’s a long way for us and the good part is that you have a lot of guys that have played that are building a good bond back there and are getting used to playing with each other. I think the great thing about all of us is that we love to compete. We’re trying to go out there and get better each day and I think for our defense, we really have to just step up and keep getting better each day and progressing, so hopefully at some point during the season we can be a pretty good secondary.
Q: What did you see out of the Buccaneers wide receivers at this morning’s practice?
DM: Coming in, we already knew they had some big guys. They come out with Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, guys that are competitive and go up and get the ball and do a great job of kind of getting downfield and trying to make plays. Then they can send Tiquan [Underwood] out there and he’s a long guy, wiry and can run. It was a good change up for us just to go against different guys. I think that really helps us, as corners and as a secondary, when we can just see different receivers. A lot of guys in this league are good, but they all do different things well, so I think we got a pretty good look at some different style receivers today.
Q: With so many regulars not playing the other night and traditionally not playing a lot in the preseason finale, is this a game where you think you guys get extended action?
DM: I don’t know. That’s all on the coaches. For us, Coach Belichick just tells us throughout the preseason to keep preparing like you’re going to play 60 minutes. I think that’s what helps us kind of get ready for that first game; just keep preparing each day and each game like you’re going to play 60 minutes and if you don’t, then stay in the game mentally.